Body-centered psychotherapy is an experiential therapy based on the idea that we store or hold information and emotions in our bodies. Said another way, our bodies have a kind of memory for experiences and feelings. Body-centered psychotherapy tries to identify where experiences may be blocked and inhibiting you from accessing your feelings.
By giving the body a “voice,” through movement, gesture, sound and/or awareness of subtle sensations, you can gain insight into long-held patterns of thought, emotion or behavior. The awareness and understanding gained in this process can help you to develop a deep inner sense of knowing, to reduce anxiety and depression, to make healthy decisions, to set boundaries in relationships, and to feel grounded and more confident.
In western cultures like ours, there is a strong emphasis on knowing, learning to think, solving problems and rationalizing, or identifying reasons, for the choices that we make. But, sometimes being rational feels completely at odds with our emotional state of being. We can become overwhelmed and distressed by this inner dichotomy or division. By using information from the body, we can understand ourselves more fully, deepen self-acceptance and change patterns that no longer serve us.
A word about trauma
Body-centered therapy is sometimes used to help survivors of trauma. Symptoms such as dissociation, flashbacks and nightmares can be reduced or alleviated with this approach. Peter Levine Ph.D., author of Waking the Tiger, has written extensively about how trauma is stored in the body and the after effects of trauma. In his work, body-centered therapy is used to release traumatic wounds from the past, to allow the body to complete the response to the original trauma and to begin the healing process.